As corporate people, we are always making decisions. We are deciding which project to join, which skills to learn, which person to talk to, which employee to select in the team. As with all decisions, there are some parameters involved in selecting the right candidate. This decision helps the team to be more engaged and become a stable, high-performing project.

In my previous article, I talked about whether a job interview is still relevant. Today, we will discuss how we can be an effective recruiter for our project, or how to be that guy whom every project wants. We will focus from the team leader’s perspective, and employees should get the idea about how to or not to become ‘that guy’!

1Being very clear about requirement

As a manager or a team lead, you must be crystal clear about what you require from a team member. Not only to focus on the technical skill but also soft skill to be looked after. You are selecting a person who will work with other people and if the person has an uncomfortable presence or aura, then he might not be a good fit for your team.

I remember one such occasion when a candidate walked into our project to be interviewed. We had a very technical project running and he right away said that he is not looking into the hands-on role. He wants to be a team leader. We already had a team leader by then, but still, we went ahead to have a technical discussion with him. Remember that to be a technical leader, you must know the technology very well. Your team member will look upon you when faced with a challenge. Facing a technical discussion, the employee went fairly hostile and started asking questions back to the interviewer about his experience. It was a very short-lived interview, but we can learn two important lessons from this.

  1. We both were clear about our requirements. The employee wanted to be a team leader and the project wanted a technical team member. The interview should have terminated there, but just to make sure we are not being judgemental, we went ahead. We shouldn’t have!
  2. Within 5 minutes of this interview session, we were uncomfortable with the person and the way of his questions. The questions he asked were not relevant and were proof of his mentality. If we hired such a person, it would have been a very negative experience for the team.

2Find out the missing capabilities and try to augment the team

You have already onboarded some members in your team and know the capabilities. Some are technically very good, some are good at analysing a problem, some can see the big picture etc. try to find the missing capability which you can fill by the person. You may want to have a out-of-box thinker in your team. You may want to have a go-getter. Try to hire that person who have this trait among equally qualified individuals. This will make the team more effective and augment the composition. A team leader or manager must think about these before entering the discussion room.

An individual must also notice the questions and their intent before thinking of an answer. One of my favorite questions is to ask what the person would do if he is stuck with a technical problem. This is an open-ended question and needs some thinking. I want to know whether the person is self-motivated and try to find out the solution by herself. Researching on the internet is a great idea which I would like to hear. Taking the problem to team lead without proper diligence is the answer I get the most.

3Focus on fundamentals

Now let’s get down to business. If you are recruiting an experienced person, make sure she knows the fundamentals. A solid base will withstand different technical challenges. Give her a problem to solve. Check how she approaches the problem and arrives at a solution. Is she asking relevant questions? In my experience, I have seen that asking the right questions often gets the job done. It makes your client understand that you know what you are talking about. So, encourage your team members to form and ask questions.


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